Review: Reuben Kaye

Provocaré presents Reuben Kaye

By Ciara Thorburn

From the moment you enter the blackened theatre box of Chapel Off Chapel, you are in the domain of Reuben Kaye – and everyone is welcome. This absolute beauty of a queen is dazzling in sequins and with an immaculate and inimitable character we are drawn in. He is impeccable, incredible, charming, and hilariously inappropriate, and he gets away with it. Because he loves us, his audience, and we love him. Instantly.

Part of this year’s Provocaré Festival, Reuben Kaye’s aptly self-titled show is a one-man cabaret as you have never seen before. Joined onstage by his exemplary band ‘The K-holes’, the show is a self-narrated biography told through exceptionally crafted ballads and broadway-esque numbers. With high class audience banter, perfect pitch, and an unwavering passion, this man is world class.

A melodramatic spectacle, Reuben Kaye is deliciously self-indulgent, cheeky, and not afraid to get up close and personal with the first available audience member. As a master of extravagance, he has his audience in the palm of his hand, his sassy wit and intellect proving he is always one step ahead. One minute he commands someone’s smartphone, the next he recites what can only be described as glorified soft porn from a distant memory. Reuben Kaye is as talented as he is fabulous, and it is this honesty and pleasure onstage that makes him so mesmerising to watch. The show visits some heavy social topics which need to be addressed, and in a compelling yet comical way he highlights how these issues have defined him and formed his identity. Think the power of Hannah Gadsby’s Nannette mixed with the passion of Betty Grumble.

Special mention to the immaculate costume and makeup design, combined with well-crafted lighting and sound which enhance the overall experience of this masterpiece. Reuben Kaye is playing as part of the Provocaré Festival at Chapel Off Chapel, until 15 July. This show is for men, women, and all those in between – it will leave you feeling empowered and accepted, and hungry for more.

Reuben Kaye is being performed 7 – 15 July at Chapel Off Chapel. Tickets can be purchased online.

Provocaré runs until 15 July.  See here for a full outline of the festival program.